Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Course Descriptions

Additional information can be found in the UCSC General Catalog (complete list of DANM courses) and UCSC Schedule of Classes (specific offerings & scheduling information).

DANM Core Courses

DANM 201. Recent Methods and Approaches to Digital Arts and Culture. F

Students examine methods and approaches to research and writing in digital art and new media, while exploring key theories concerning technology, art, and culture. Focus is on the interaction between digital technologies and socio/cultural formations. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 202. Dialogues and Questions in Digital Arts and Culture. S

Students engage in dialogues at the intersection of theory and practice with the goal of producing a pre-thesis proposal and essay. Readings and seminar discussions inform the development of project proposals and essays, which theoretically contextualize students' work. (Formerly Digital Arts and New Media 203.) (Also offered as Music 254Q. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 203. Professional Development for the Arts. S

A professional art practices practicum that focuses on researching opportunities and developing practical strategies and skills to ensure success outside an academic environment. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 210. Project Design Studio. F

Students work on the design of individual projects by developing project proposals, budgets, "proof of concept" design documents and/or prototypes and exploring tools, technologies, programming languages, hardware, software, and electronics techniques relevant to their projects.

DANM 211. Critique. S

First-year digital arts and new media graduate students are required to present work-in-progress based on the projects developed in earlier courses and during the current quarter in individual studio critiques with the instructor as well as in group critiques. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 18.

DANM 212. Thesis Proposal (no credit). S

First-year digital art and new media graduate students work on the development and completion of their thesis-project proposal and abstract under the supervision of the program chair and their thesis committees. Enrollment restricted to DANM students.

DANM 215. MFA Exhibition Production. W

Second-year digital arts and new media graduate students work with faculty curator/coordinator to develop thesis projects specifically for the group exhibition context. Students contribute to exhibition design and collateral materials while studying the unique presentation and curatorial challenges of new media. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 219. Introduction to Electronics for Artmaking. F

Intensive introduction to electronic devices used in artmaking, providing hands-on experience with sensors, motors, switches, gears, lights, simple circuits, microprocessors, and hardware storage devices to create kinetic and interactive works of art. Students are billed a materials fee. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 220. Introduction to Programming for the Arts. W

Covers aspects of computer programming necessary for digital art projects. Students learn to manipulate digital media using program control for installations, presentations, and the Internet. No prior programming experience required. Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 250A. Collaborative Research Project Group: Mechatronics. W,S, F

Three-quarter collaborative research project group involves faculty-initiated research in the use of a variety of media including video, performance, and sculpture, for the creation of complex, kinetic, audio-visual systems exploring temporality, materiality, experience, and perception. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 8.

DANM 250B. Collaborative Research Project Group: Participatory Culture. W,S, F

Three-quarter collaborative research project group encompasses a range of faculty-initiated projects in social computing and community-media activism, which involve the design of new technologies to address social problems and facilitate broader participation in culture and politics. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 8. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 250C. Collaborative Research Project Group: Performative Technologies. W,S, F

Three-quarter collaborative research project group generates faculty-initiated new public and performative spaces where digital media, communication networks, and interactive systems may be fused with lighting, movement, stage, and sound design to create shared multimedia experiences for audiences and performers. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 8. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 250D. Playable Media. W

Focuses on media, such as computer games, that invite and structure play. Work includes building and critiquing a series of prototypes; studying major examples in the field; and discussing both theoretical and practice-oriented texts. (Also offered as Computer Science 290J. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. May be repeated for credit.

DANM Elective Courses

DANM 216. Digital Bodies. *

Explores the appearance, form, and theoretical status of the human body/political subject in online art. Focuses on representations of race and gender, family resemblances, and local communities, as well as the political and colonial metaphors of spatial interaction operating on the World Wide Web. Visual representations of bodies that take the form of avatars, advertising, robots, and anime studied in their contextual usage. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Upper-division undergraduates may enroll with permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 17.

DANM 217. Computer-Assisted Composition. W

Study of techniques of algorithmic and computer-assisted composition in a variety of contemporary idioms. Topics may include stochastic methods, generative grammars, search strategies, and the construction of abstract compositional designs and spaces. Final project for course involves students formulating and algorithmically implementing their own theoretical assumptions and compositional strategies. (Also offered as Music 206B. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 221. Mathematics and the Arts. *

Examines the role of mathematics in the arts since the computer revolution with an emphasis on chaos, fractals, and symmetry. Covers abstract animation and algorithmic music, including the history of leading innovators and techniques from 1950 to the present. Student projects explore the creative process today using cutting-edge technologies. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Upper-division undergraduates may enroll with permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 30. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 224. Digital Arts Project Studio. *

Provides a context for significant development of digital arts projects: in the first year, individual and collaborative; in the second year, resolution of thesis projects. Individuals and collaborative groups meet with the instructor for focused critical feedback. Students create a public exhibition of their work-in-progress. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 18.

DANM 227. Projected Light in Performance. *

Exploration of projected light in performance and art. The history of lighting as art is covered in a hands-on demystifying format from the shadow of a bare light bulb to the latest in automated and projection equipment and techniques. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Juniors and seniors may enroll with permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 20.

DANM 231. Human-Computer Interaction. W

Theory and hands-on practice to understand what makes user interfaces usable and accessible to diverse individuals. Covers human senses and memory and their design implications, requirement solicitation, user-centered design and prototyping techniques, and expert and user evaluations. Individual research project. Interdisciplinary course for art, social science and engineering graduate students. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 131. (Also offered as Computer Engineering 231. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students.

DANM 233. The Object as Interface. *

Combination theory and studio-based exploration into the role of the object in real and virtual space. Provides a broad conceptual and theoretical examination of issues relating to object-making on a physical and dematerialized plane. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 15.

DANM 241B. Modern Art: Cubism to Pop. W

A history of the visual arts from the 1910s to the 1960s beginning in Europe and moving to the United States. Follows key movements of modern art while emphasizing the social, political, and philosophical events that inform it. Students cannot receive credit for this course and History of Arts and Visual Culture 141B. Enrollment restricted to graduate students in digital arts new media, film, history of visual culture, music, social documentation, theater, or visual studies.

DANM 254I. Empirical Approaches to Art Information. *

Reading and practice in empirical methods, as applied to the study of music, visual art, multimedia production, and performance arts. Topics include semiotics, critiques of empiricism, cultural determinants and contingents of perception, the psychophysics of information, sensory perception (visual and auditory), memory, pattern recognition, and awareness. Students apply existing knowledge in the cognitive sciences to a developing creative project, or develop and conduct new experiments. (Also offered as Music 254I. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 17. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 254L. John Cage: Innovation, Collaboration, and Performance Technologies. *

In-depth examination of John Cage's interdisciplinary work, his pioneering activity in live electronic technology, and his influence in current multimedia creativity. Approximately one-half of the seminary is devoted to student research and creative projects and reflect Cage's legacy. (Also offered as Music 254L. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment restricted to juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Upper-division undergraduates may enroll with permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 12.

DANM 267. Workshop in Computer Music and Visualization (2 credits). F,W,S

Graduate-level techniques and procedures of computer music composition and visualization. Practical experience in the UCSC electronic music studio with computer composition systems and software, including visualization and interactive performance systems. Extensive exploration of music and interactive graphic programs such as Max/MSP/Jitter. Enrollment by permission of instructor; appropriate graduate experience required. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. (Also offered as Music 267. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment limited to 12. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 290P. Topics in Computational Cinematography. F

Focuses on discussion of recent advances in visual storytelling in graphical environments. Major topics covered are: intelligent camera control, shot-compositions, lighting design, interactive storytelling, and computational techniques associated with these applications. Class consists of in-class discussions and student presentations of research papers and a final student project. (Also offered as Computer Science 290P. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.)

DANM 297. Independent Study. F,W,S

Independent digital arts and new media research project under the guidance of a digital arts and new media faculty member or other faculty with approval of adviser. Project includes readings, research, and a written report. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Maximum 10 credits. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 297G. Independent Study (3 credits). F,W,S

Independent digital arts and new media research project under the guidance of a digital arts and new media faculty member or other faculty with approval of adviser. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. May be repeated for a maximum 6 credits. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 299. Thesis Research. F,W,S

Students carry out a master's of fine arts thesis in digital arts and new media research, under the guidance of a thesis committee. The thesis will be an arts project with digital documentation accompanied by a written paper discussing the student's preparatory research as well as the theoretical significance of the project. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Maximum 10 credits. May be repeated for credit.

DANM Upper-Division (Undergraduate) Courses

DANM 100A. Animation I. W

Hands-on course introduces students to basic methods and practices in animation while exposing them to independent animation artists. Students explore techniques ranging from hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animation to object animation and pixilation. (Formerly course 131, Introduction to Animation.) Enrollment restricted to sophomore, junior, and senior majors and graduate students in digital arts new media, art, computer science game design, film and digital media, and theater; or by permission of instructor. (General Education Code(s): PR-C.)

DANM 100B. Animation II. W

Course expands on student understanding of both experimental and conventional animation techniques. Workshops in 2D drawn, stop-motion and stop-action animation methods will be combined with tutorials of the post-production process, screenings of animation examples and critique. Prerequisites: Art 107 or CMPS 25 or CMPS 26 or DANM 100A or DANM 131 or by permission of instructor. (General Education Code(s): PR-C.)

DANM 179. Game Design Practicum. F,W,S

Provides the opportunity to practice the creation of novel computer games. Students learn a new game-making technology, then create three games using this technology. (Also offered as Computer Science 179. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) May be repeated for credit. (General Education Code(s): PR-C.)

DANM 199. Tutorial. F,W,S

Independent digital arts and new media research project under the guidance of a digital arts and new media faculty member or other faculty. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. Enrollment restricted to juniors and seniors. May be repeated for credit.

DANM 199F. Tutorial (2 credits). F,W,S

Independent digital arts and new media research project under the guidance of a digital arts and new media faculty member or other faculty. Students submit petition to sponsoring agency. May be repeated for credit.

DANM Summer Session Courses

The Digital Arts and New Media program regularly offers undergraduate courses during summer session.  Past courses have included "Introduction of Electronics" and  "Kinematics - Motion & Machine". For the latest offerings, please visit the summer session page for our program.